The History Behind the Okefenokee Oar Trophy: The Under Appreciated Florida-Georgia Rivalry Trophy

The Florida-Georgia Rivalry offers the chance to win the Okefenokee Oar; an interesting recent history to one of the newer rivalry trophies.

For the 15th time, the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs will be playing for the Okefenokee Oar Trophy. It may not be a well-known trophy that comes at the end of the Florida-Georgia Rivalry, but its reputation has been building for a while.

There is an interesting history of the trophy, how it was started, and how it has grown into a new traditional trophy the teams can be proud of winning.

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What is the Okefenokee Oar Trophy

There is some mystery behind the Oar and how it became the trophy of choice, but it started back in 2009 from an anonymous donor associated with the University of Florida.

They created a 12-foot-tall carved wooden oar made from a 1,000-year-old oak tree from its namesake swamp: Okefenokee Swamp.

The choice of the trophy as an oar is unknown to this day.

Both schools’ student government bodies joined together to create the trophy they can associate with the rivalry. It became official through a joint resolution in 2011, with Georgia taking home the trophy to their campus for the first time.

How the 12-foot beast works is when both team’s mascots are carved into the trophy, and each year, the score of the game is carved into the oar. There is enough room for all scores up to 150 years.

Whoever wins the oar ends up transporting it to their campus and showing it off at their student center. To give it more visibility to the public, they have been using the hashtag #WarForTheOar, as students exchange the oar instead of the players on the field.

Despite it becoming a big tradition among students, it still isn’t recognized by the athletic programs as the game’s trophy. The oar is transported to Jacksonville, Florida, each year, and whoever wins is responsible for bringing it back home with them.

It’s not known when the athletic programs will recognize it as a game trophy, but it is something the students at each school can enjoy as a tradition of their own. The students will have to wait for that time, but until then, fans can enjoy seeing the schools lugging the 12-foot oar around each year for one of college football’s more competitive rivalries.

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